B-160751, FEBRUARY 15, 1967, 46 COMP. GEN. 670

B-160751: Feb 15, 1967

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ARE REQUIRED TO BE INCREASED. - WAS MADE TO ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 13. THEN WAS FIXED AT $98.80. WE ASSUME THAT THESE WERE THE ALLOWANCES OR PAYMENTS IN EFFECT ON APRIL 1. WE HAVE CAREFULLY STUDIED THE LANGUAGE OF SECTION 407 (B) AND ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY AND HAVE CONCLUDED IF AN AGENCY HEAD DETERMINES TO CONTINUE TO PAY ALLOWANCES INSTEAD OF FURNISHING UNIFORMS IN KIND THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE TO INCREASING THE ALLOWANCES. IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING OUR OPINION IS THAT "REPLACEMENT" ALLOWANCES IN EFFECT ON APRIL 1. ARE REQUIRED BY SECTION 407 OF PUBLIC LAW 89-504 TO BE INCREASED BY THE PERCENTAGES SET FORTH THEREIN.

B-160751, FEBRUARY 15, 1967, 46 COMP. GEN. 670

UNIFORMS - CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - ALLOWANCES - INCREASES THE MANDATORY PERCENTAGE INCREASES IN UNIFORM ALLOWANCES IN EFFECT APRIL 1, 1966, PROVIDED BY SECTION 407 (B) OF THE FEDERAL SALARY AND FRINGE BENEFITS ACT OF 1966, 5 U.S.C. 5901, APPLYING EQUALLY TO THE INITIAL AND ANNUAL REPLACEMENT UNIFORM ALLOWANCES, SHOULD THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY DETERMINE TO CONTINUE TO PAY UNIFORM ALLOWANCES INSTEAD OF FURNISHING UNIFORMS IN KIND AS BEING IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT, THE "REPLACEMENT" ALLOWANCES IN EFFECT ON APRIL 1, 1966, ARE REQUIRED TO BE INCREASED--- NOT TO EXCEED $125--- BY THE PERCENTAGES PRESCRIBED IN THE SECTION.

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, FEBRUARY 15, 1967:

WE REFER TO LETTER OF JANUARY 23, 1967, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION IN WHICH HE ASKS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE MANDATORY INCREASES IN UNIFORM ALLOWANCES PROVIDED BY SECTION 407 (B) OF THE FEDERAL SALARY AND FRINGE BENEFITS ACT OF 1966, PUBLIC LAW 89-504, 80 STAT. 299, 5 U.S.C. 5901, APPLY EQUALLY TO THE INITIAL AND ANNUAL REPLACEMENT UNIFORM ALLOWANCES.

IN ILLUSTRATING THE PROBLEM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER POINTS OUT THAT IN THE FOREST SERVICE A DIRECT INITIAL PAYMENT OF $125--- THE STATUTORY MAXIMUM--- WAS MADE TO ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 13, PUBLIC LAW 89-301, 79 STAT. 1122, WHICH INCREASED THE STATUTORY MAXIMUM FROM $100 TO $125. THE ANNUAL REPLACEMENT PAYMENT, BASED ON ADMINISTRATIVE SURVEYS MADE TO DETERMINE REPLACEMENT NEEDS, THEN WAS FIXED AT $98.80. WE ASSUME THAT THESE WERE THE ALLOWANCES OR PAYMENTS IN EFFECT ON APRIL 1, 1966.

WE HAVE CAREFULLY STUDIED THE LANGUAGE OF SECTION 407 (B) AND ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY AND HAVE CONCLUDED IF AN AGENCY HEAD DETERMINES TO CONTINUE TO PAY ALLOWANCES INSTEAD OF FURNISHING UNIFORMS IN KIND THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE TO INCREASING THE ALLOWANCES--- NOT TO EXCEED $125--- IN EFFECT ON APRIL 1, 1966, BY THE PERCENTAGES PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 407 (B), REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE PAYMENT REPRESENTS AN INITIAL OR REPLACEMENT ALLOWANCE. HOWEVER, AS POINTED OUT IN SUBSECTION "D" OF SECTION 6, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-30, REVISED AUGUST 20, 1966, PUBLIC LAW 89- 504 DOES NOT DIVEST AN AGENCY HEAD OF DISCRETION TO FURNISH UNIFORMS IN KIND AS PRESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION "B" OF SECTION 4 AND IN SECTION 5, SHOULD HE DETERMINE THAT SUCH A COURSE WOULD BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING OUR OPINION IS THAT "REPLACEMENT" ALLOWANCES IN EFFECT ON APRIL 1, 1966, ARE REQUIRED BY SECTION 407 OF PUBLIC LAW 89-504 TO BE INCREASED BY THE PERCENTAGES SET FORTH THEREIN.